Board game rulebooks that fill you with anticipation

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I was reading through #Architects of the West Kingdom's rulebook tonight and it made me excited about its gameplay potential. I especially like the idea of the virtue track where your decisions will impact your character's public reputation, where it could be stealing tax payers' money, hiring shady apprentices, constructing buildings that will raise more than a few eyebrows, etc. I've always been fascinated by video games that offer choices of morality (e.g. Bioshock), so this has me quite intrigued, although I know it's nowhere near that level of depth. It also makes me wonder if it'll be viable to stay virtuous throughout the game because I feel like the typical route will be more of a balancing act of risk vs. reward. I also like to push my luck quite often so you can bet that I'll be tipping way over to the dark side to get quick benefits and try my best to wash my self clean before the end of the game.

Anyway, I wanted to ask if anyone else has had a similar experience. Have you ever had a moment where the rulebook got you excited about the gameplay? Which game was it?

Bonus Question: Can you think of a good game that delved into the idea of virtue? It could be along the lines of a deep morality dive like Bioshock, or something Star Wars-esque where good vs. evil will lead to a different skill tree you could explore.

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Premium User15 months ago

I like reading rulebooks! I don't know if I've ever had the experience of being filled with anticipation from reading one, at least not beyond the general anticipation of "I just got a new game that I'm excited to play!" I do appreciate when a rulebook is well written and clear. Specific ones are #Wingspan and #Everdell.

Supporter15 months ago

I think #Scythe did this for me.  Partially because it was before I started watching a lot of videos.  Now that I watch rule videos I'm less likely to go through a rule book except to verify rules during game play.

Supporter15 months ago

So, I've thought about your second question and I don't have much but I have a few examples.

#Scythe bad actions affect your popularity, and from there your end score.

#Mage Knight#Star Trek: Frontiers have a reputation tracker that affects some things, but it is almost always worth taking a hit in reputation.

The crossroads system that Plaid Hat uses in #Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game and #Gen7: A Crossroads Game asks a lot of moral questions that allow you to be a villain or a good guy.

I'm not sure any of these are what you are looking for, but it is all I thought of.

Supporter15 months ago

Most rulebooks make me excited for their games. Gloomhaven is especially exciting, just because of all the unknown content it alludes to that you’ll unlock as the game rolls along. 

I remember as a kid my favorite rulebook was for the video game Alpha Centauri. What an amazing game and what an amazing manual. I read that from cover to cover so many times. 

I don’t have an answer for your second question, sorry.  

Supporter15 months ago

Oh yes, there are a number of rulebooks that have gotten me excited. I remember the first time I read the rulebook for #Scythe. I got so excited by the realization that a: the resources stayed on the board, if I produced resources they were mine only as long as I controlled them on the board, and, b: that "popularity" served as a sort of end game score multiplier.

My favorite rulebooks are maybe 20 ish-30ish pages long, with some illustrations. I can, and have, handled bigger rulebooks and they can evoke excitement. But, often times, the smaller rulebooks don't bring me as much excitement, even if the game turns out to be great.

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Architects of the West Kingdom